Insanity & Joint Pain–How To Take Care of Yourself


It’s a simple fact that the Insanity Workout involves an intense regimen of plyometrics and cardio, and that following such a schedule six days/week for two months can result in an inordinate amount of stressing on your joints. This is one of the main reasons why the Insanity Workout is considered an elite workout, due to the fact that in order to complete it successfully you need to have joints that are conditioned for high impact exercise. Many people don’t, however, and still wish to attempt the Insanity Workout: what can they do in order to minimize the stress they will subject their joints to, and minimize any potential joint pain?

A new study from Iowa State University has discovered that shortening your stride can reduce the chances of developing a stress fracture, and lower the general amount of stress placed on your knees. When runners shortened their stride by ten percent during a 3 mile run, the impact of their footfalls dropped and their chances of injury lowered by 33%. The muscles applied less force on the bones in order to increase the stride length, and that is key to understanding a simple way of reducing the potential of injury during an Insanity Workout. When doing any movement that involves moving laterally or back and forth, try to minimize the distance traveled. This will reduce the stress on your knee and ankle joints, and help you get through the workouts with less pain.

Another simple method of lowering the chances of joint pain is to focus on landing lightly on your feet. Plyometric drills involve a lot of jumping, and how you land will directly translate into the amount of shock sent up your legs and into your joints. If you focus on landing on the balls of your feet, and make an effort to land lightly and quietly, you will maximize your body’s ability to cushion itself against the impact. If however you simply land bonelessly, jarring your feet onto the ground, feeling the shock travel through your body, the opposite will be true. Even if it means going slower, or not completing as many reps, always be aware of your knee joints, and how softly you are landing.

Finally, compression clothing can greatly assist joint support and lessen your chances of soreness. Wearing a lower body compression garment can reduce your chances of soreness by as much as 43%, while wearing compression socks can help you move faster and more nimbly. Compression clothing can help you conserve energy, can assist your joints by adding support, and can lower the chances of soreness after an intense bout of exercise. These can really make a difference if you are expecting soreness or pain, are greatly out of shape or have prior joint injuries.

So there you have it. Be mindful of your movements and wear clothing that can assist your body in combating soreness and injury. Add that to advice given my previous blog post on Insanity and joint soreness, and you’ve maximized your chances of getting through the next two months without pain.


  1. Parkatola says:

    When I started Insanity, my feet hurt more than my joints, especially after the warmups. The only advice I can give is get good shoes. The first time I did Insanity, I used running shoes, which had good cushion, but weren’t designed for the lateral movements (think Heisman, 123, etc.) Good cross trainers will really help.

    The other suggestion is one I picked up from a friend who’s an orthopedist (who has done Insanity, so he knows the routines). One of my knees makes some noise when I crouch down, and he said that it’s important to keep the knees behind the toes. Shaun T mentions this with the stretches and with lunges, but any time you’re squatting down, especially to explode up, try to keep the butt back and down, and keep the knees behind the toes. It’s helped me, hope it helps you.

    Strength and honor


  2. I am looking to start the Insanity workout program. I suffer from Charcot-Marie Tooth syndrome and am a hibitual toe walker. My left heel never toughest the ground when I walk or stand. I consistently work-out with weights and resistance training 4 times a week, with cardio on the off days. Should I be concerned with attempting the Insanity workout program?

  3. Hi Tim S,

    To be honest with you, this is a question you should take up with your doctor. I’m not qualified to give you substantive advice on whether Insanity is compatible with your condition. Best of luck!

  4. hi
    I just got insanity did my first day today and i did feel i need different shoes i was looking into the new ones that have the bottom shape like the ballsthey are to tone ur butt and thighs are those better for this workout!

  5. I recently had ACL/MCL and microfracture surgery on my knee. I am still limited a bit in the jumping/explosiveness department in my legs. I can get through a spinning class (hour long) without pain in the knee, but am concerned that if I can’t jump/land at full strength, that I won’t get enough out of the workouts. Thoughts?

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